Color Correction

Color Correction in Photoshop

Photoshop is the perfect tool for color correction.  It is the photographer's dream to work with because it offers so many post-production options.  There are many ways that you can make color corrections or adjustments in Photoshop.

Start with either your scanned in photograph or digitally uploaded and open it in Photoshop.  If you have a good "eye" you can just make the adjustments manually with some of the tools such as; color balance or channel mixer.  Variations works well for some because you can immediately see the different corrections available by choosing different colors from your different light tones (midtones, highlights..) and by making them darker or lighter and comparing with the original.

Selective color will make minute (My-nute) changes that you can hardly tell.  I use color balance all of the time to purposely skew towards a single color (used in movie posters all the time) or just to balance out the image (ie. if it's too red, just move towards cyan; the opposite).  You can make adjustments on the shadows, midtones, and highlights within the image, simply move the sliders towards the colors you need to bring up or balance out. 

Often you may have to reference a color corrected image and use any of the adjustment options to manually "eye" the correction.  With the new Photoshop CS you can apply an already color corrected image to that of another image with the new Match Color adjustment.  This is a powerful tool that is shown in the CS Features CD available when you get any of my products.

Remember that you can make color corrections or adjustments on the layer itself (I recommend duplicating the layer first) or go ahead and create an adjustment layer which will lay right on top of the layer.  You can read more about adjustment layers here.

With the channel mixer you can change the color channel attributes of each channel (ie. red, green, blue).  For example you can bring up the green color within the red output channel.  Each channel starts out at 100% with the other two at 0% and you can make adjustments from there.  The channel mixer makes distinct changes so more often for color correction you'll want to use the color balance.

Remember that you've got powerful tools to balance out the exposure with the levels, curves (map the brightness to each channel too), brightness/contrast and even the auto functions of those commands.  Usually I'll make the lightness corrections first (with little experience you'll have a good natural eye for it) and then make color corrections if necessary.  Photoshop CS has the powerful new Shadow/Highlight adjustment which performs miracles (it will shock you).

So just dive in and experience the many options you have for color correction (through adjustments or adjustment layers) and find what works best for you.

- Orion Williams copyright 2004


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Copyright Orion Williams & PhotoshopDesign.NET 2004

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